Con crud, NYCC, Picard, Apple Music, and other distractions

One of the good things about a virtual con is that it should be impossible to get the con crud when you don’t leave your apartment. But after NYCC last weekend, I woke up on Monday feeling pretty bad. I guess I caught a cold at some point over the weekend. I probably picked it up while out grocery shopping. So I was nursing a cold through the first half of the work week, and eventually gave up and took a half-day on Wednesday to rest. It seems like taking time off for a cold shouldn’t be necessary if you’re just working from home anyway, but taking an afternoon off to nap and listen to podcasts did help.

I may watch some panels from Baltimore Comic Con next weekend. They’re supposed to be streaming their panels live, unlike SDCC and NYCC, where most panels were prerecorded, and they have some interesting stuff on their schedule. Also, unlike SDCC and NYCC, nearly all of the panels are actually about comics books! (I’m not knocking SDCC or NYCC. They both did great jobs of putting on a fun virtual event on short notice.)

I’ve been continuing to overdo it on Picard, as I mentioned last weekend. I’ve now watched all the episodes of season one, all the Ready Room episodes, all of the extras on the Blu-ray discs, and listened to about half of the Greatest Discovery podcasts. I also watched the “Trek the Vote to Victory” Biden fundraiser event on Tuesday night, which was a lot of fun, and included a number of the Picard actors, including Patrick Stewart. I guess I’m almost done with Picard for now, though I may keep going through those podcasts. They’re enjoyable, though I’m falling behind in all my other podcasts.

In my continuing quest to lose myself in diverting entertainment, I watched Weathering With You last night. It was almost as good as Your Name, though I think the general consensus is that it’s not quite as good. (Your Name has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Weathering With You has 91%.) For me, Makoto Shinkai still isn’t up there with Miyazaki or Satoshi Kon, but he’s pretty good. I have thoughts about Weathering With You, but they’re not terribly well-organized yet. In some ways, it follows a lot of pretty standard anime tropes, but it makes some really weird decisions along the way, and I’m not sure what kind of conclusions I should draw about those. I’m pretty sure that trying to analyze this movie too literally would be a mistake though.

And I’m continuing to play around with Apple Music. I think I’ve got my library in pretty good shape now. Everything on my PC and Mac has been either matched or uploaded. My iTunes/Music library now says that I’ve got 14,000 items taking up 95 GB. I guess that’s now showing the total size of everything in the cloud. I wish there was an easy way to see how much you have in the cloud vs local from within Music/iTunes, but you need to go into Finder/Explorer to do that. I still have about 44 GB on my Mac. At some point, I think I’ll start deleting stuff from my local library there, and just rely on streaming on the Mac. I’ll keep local copies of everything on my PC, in case I decide to discontinue Apple Music.

I spent a lot of time yesterday fiddling with my library, trying stuff out, and moving stuff around. I found that a lot of the stuff I bought via iTunes back in the early days confused Apple Music a bit. I had to delete some old files and replace them with new ones. And a bunch of files with weird characters in their file names needed to be cleaned up too. (Those might already have been broken, and I just hadn’t noticed before.)

Streaming from Apple Music to my Sonos works pretty well. I’m currently listening to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on the Sonos, and it sounds pretty good. This is a version that I ripped from CD and that isn’t available in Apple Music, so I guess I’m just listening to my own ripped version, but streaming from Apple’s servers. I’m curious about how that stuff works. How many other Apple Music subscribers have ripped that particular CD set? Any, or is it just me? If so, does Apple keep all the individual rips, or do they just point to a common base set? If two people encode different rips of the same album, at different bit rates, can Apple tell that they’re the same work, and just keep whichever one is the best rip? If I were to re-rip some of my old stuff to lossless, then re-match it in Apple Music, would Apple keep and stream my lossless files? Or would that be pointless? I’m probably spending too much time overthinking this stuff.

The general theme of this blog post, and honestly about 90% of my recent blog posts, has been distraction and self-absorption, generally in stuff that doesn’t much matter. But I think that’s OK. I voted. I’m supporting charitable (and political) causes that I care about. I’m staying informed on current events. I’m wearing my mask. And I’m showing up to work every day and doing my best. If I want to spend my Sunday morning thinking about doing a lossless re-rip of all my opera CDs, that’s fine!

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